Dr. Allan Just
On February 6th, Dr. Allan Just, presented on “Using Molecular Epidemiology to Understand Chemical Threats to Early-Life Children’s Health” as part of the 20 Pioneers Under 40 in Environmental Public Health Webinar Series. Dr. Just discussed why DNA methylation may be a useful biomarker to reconstruct complex environmental exposures and link these to subsequent health outcomes. He also discussed the many challenges of measuring, analyzing, and interpreting this new type of big data for environmental studies. To watch the webinar click here.
Dr. Luz Claudio
On January 17th, Dr. Luz Claudio weighed in on whether indoor plants can help with indoor air quality in Time Magazine. “There are no definitive studies to show that having indoor plants can significantly increase the air quality in the home to improve health in a measurable way,” says Luz Claudio, a professor of environmental medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Claudio has reviewed the research on the air-quality benefits of indoor plants. She says there’s no question that plants are capable of removing volatile chemical toxins from the air “under laboratory conditions.” But in the real world—in your home, say, or in your office space—the notion that incorporating a few plants can purify your air doesn’t have much hard science to back it up. To read the full Time article click here.
Dr. Shanna Swan
On Janaury 10th, Dr. Shanna Swan was featured in Health Day to provide insight on study that found toddlers whose mothers used acetaminophen early in pregnancy may have a heightened risk of language delays. According to Shanna Swan, the senior researcher on the study, “There really is no good alternative to acetaminophen.” Yet evidence is growing that there can be risks from taking the drug during pregnancy, especially more than occasionally, Swan said. To read the full Health Day article click here.
Dr. Ruth Loos
On January 10, 2018, Dr. Ruth Loos and researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and other institutions of the Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits (GIANT) consortium found 13 genes that carry variations associated with body mass index (BMIIn a study published in the January issue of Nature Genetics, ). This was the first large-scale study to pinpoint genetic variations that may directly impact the function of the genes. To read the full press release click here.
On Dec. 13th, Dr. Rosalind Wright was featured in the HealthDay News article “Teens Acting Badly? Smog Could Be to Blame.” A study from Los Angeles found that younger kids exposed to increased levels of air pollution tended to have delinquency scores similar to teens three or four years older, the study authors said, though the study did not prove that pollution actually caused delinquent behavior. Dr. Rosalind Wright, P30 PSCAF Director, weighed in on the study and said the researchers “did a reasonable job of substantiating the potential plausibility of this effect, and it rings true for me.” Air pollution might have a direct toxic effect on the brain. Or bad air might promote inflammation and immune response in other parts of the body that indirectly affect brain function. To read the full article click here.
According to research from a consumer advocacy group, some fidget spinners may contain many times the legal limit for lead in children’s products. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) Education Fund, which did the research, points out that the problem exists because of a loophole: technically the products are not made or marketed for children, so they’re not subject to the same safety standards as kids’ toys. But given that children are typically the ones who play with spinners, the results are concerning, particularly since lead exposure is known to be extremely harmful to kids’ developing nervous systems. Dr. Maida P. Galvez, P30 CEC Co-Director, says that she finds the high lead levels in spinners concerning. “Lead exposure during vulnerable periods—pregnancy and early childhood—have long-lasting effects into adulthood, on IQ, attention, and behavior,” she says. “And the fact that it can be on the market without premarket safety testing is absurd. The public is totally unaware. I’d recommend that concerned parents call the manufacturers. The real intervention is policy intervention.” To read the full article click here.
On Oct. 23rd, 2017, Dr. Philip Landrigan was interviewed by U.S News to talk about the U.S. government limits on arsenic in drinking water that have likely averted hundreds of cases of lung and bladder cancer annually. A government study published this October estimated that 2 million private well users may be exposed to high levels of arsenic in their drinking water. High levels of arsenic have been linked to an increased risk for a broad range of cancers, including skin, lung, bladder, kidney and liver cancers, the researchers noted. It can also threaten the nervous system, respiratory function, heart health and the immune system. “The findings are consistent with data from previous studies of the health benefits of reducing arsenic concentrations in drinking water,” Dr. Philip Landrigan wrote in an editorial that accompanied the latest study. To read the full article click here.
New York allergist Dr. Scott Sicherer has just published an extensively updated edition of his book: Food Allergies: A Complete Guide for Eating When Your Life Depends on It. In the book, Sicherer answers about 1,000 food allergy questions in an engaging, easy-to-follow format. In the following Q&A, Allergic Living editor Gwen Smith lobs a several of our readers’ questions at the specialist, who replies with informative, engaging and sometimes surprising answers. To read the interview click here.
Allan Just, PhD was named one of the “20 Pioneers Under 40 in Environmental Public Health” by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment. These 20 pioneering researchers and advocates were nominated by a committee of senior leaders and luminaries in environmental public health. The Collborative on Health and the Environmentl will be launching a series of 10 webinars that will feature the work of the next generation of environmental health scientists and advocates in a new series beginning on October 4. Chosen for exceptional levels of accomplishment in work that is rigorous, dynamic, and builds critical knowledge, the 20 speakers’ work promises to drive environmental health science and advocacy in new directions that will demonstrate the many links between the environment and public health and catalyze policies and actions that will protect the health of children, families, and communities. Our center congratulates Allan Just on this recognition! To learn more click here.
Dr. Stingone’s research “Maternal Exposure to Nitrogen Dioxide, Intake of Methyl Nutrients, and Congenital Heart Defects in Offspring” was featured in the American Journal of Epidmiology. The study looks at how nutrients that regulate methylation processes may modify susceptibility to the effects of air pollutants. To learn more click here.